Recap: The 2nd Annual Big Taste of Houston

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Photo by Mai Pham
Uchi Houston took home the grand prize for presentation and best dish overall at Big Taste of Houston. Pictured here, "Machi cure."

"This is such a great event -- so many of Houston's best chefs all in one place!" said Matthew Lovelace, a sous chef at Osteria Mazzantini, as he offered me a sample of their Blackhill Meats lamb meatball and chicken liver mousse. His was one of the first booths I encountered at the 2nd Annual Big Taste of Houston this weekend at The Corinthian, a premier food event and charity fundraiser for the Houston chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Indeed, though the inaugural event last year was fantastic, the lineup of chefs and restaurants this year was quite amazing. "I felt like the entrants this year were much stronger than last year," said celebrity judge and blogger Adam Goldberg (Twitter: @LifeWorthEating). For the second year in a row, Goldberg had flown in from New York City to take part in the event, live-tweeting each dish (check out his awesome Twitter feed!) as it was presented at the judge's table for all the world to see.

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Photo by Mai Pham
Osteria Mazzantini served up Blackhill Meats lamb meatballs. Yummy.

In all, 21 participating chefs and restaurants, and six dessert spots provided samplings to a throng of approximately 500 attendees. Spirits were high amid free flowing libations from sponsors Don Julio Tequila, Dripping Springs Vodka, Pisco Porton, Becker Vineyards, and Evamor Water, while a live band belted out booty-bopping tunes, like Barry White's "Can't get enough of your love, babe."

I was impressed with many of this year's entrants, including chef Donald Chang's Nara, whose spicy pork jowl buns -- one of the restaurant's specialties -- were a big hit with attendees. Both times that I visited their booth I overheard people coming up to say "Someone told me I had to come here for these."

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Photo by Mai Pham
One of the two offerings by chef Adison Lee of KUU: The "Kanpaccio."

Chef Adison Lee of the brand new KUU in Memorial City was another highlight, offering two tastings of his restaurant's signature dishes -- a beautiful "Kanpacchio" made of kanpachi, orange, pickled grape, with pickled shallot and yuzu garlic soy; and a citrus cured fluke with edamame puree and kale chip.

Truluck's Danny Kievit was painstakingly pan-searing whole u-10 scallops a la minute -- the just-seared beauties were served over a sauce of tomato butter. El Big Bad, whose table was adorned with an ice sculpture of their big bad wolf logo, offered deliciously refreshing barramundi fish in a citrusy leche de tigre, alongside a barbacoa tostadita with smoked crema and flash-fried sweet potato.

This story continues on the next page.

Location Info

Map

Big Brothers Big Sisters

6437 High Star, Houston, TX

Category: General

Uchi

904 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Latin Bites

5709 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nara

2800 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kuu

947 Gessner Rd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Soma Sushi

4820 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fish & The Knife

7801 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Salé-Sucré

2916 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Michael's Cookie Jar

5330 Weslayan St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Eleven XI Restaurant & Bar

607 W. Gray St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fat Cat Creamery

1910 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Taco Nuts

, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Fisheria

4705 Inker St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sorrel Urban Bistro

2202 W. Alabama, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Corinthian

202 Fannin St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Triniti

2815 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Truluck's Steakhouse

5350 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Osteria Mazzantini

2200 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Straits Restaurant

800 W. Sam Houston Parkway N., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cloud 10 Creamery

5216 Morningside Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

El Big Bad

419 Travis St, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Etoile Cuisine et Bar

1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar

1985 Welch St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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